Busworld Europe 2019 offers a three-day conference, 21 to 23 October, in which Busworld Academy and UITP work together. Energy transition of bus transport, electric buses and how to implement those new fleets are a few of the main topics.
During the UITP Summit this summer in Stockholm there was a seminar 'Roll out and management of e-bus fleets', in which four transport authorities discussed the topic, two from Scandinavia, one from Italy and one from Luxembourg. The lectures are summarized in four articles here at Busworld Academy.
What was particularly interesting was how the four thought about the implementation of electric buses. Are the benefits enough to justify the costs? Do we not want too much at once? Is there still a roll for diesel? Sweden is generally seen as one of the forerunners in converting diesel into sustainable fuels. There is great awareness. Västtrafik is the transport authority in West Sweden in and around Gothenburg and is owned by the Västa Götaland Region where it operates. As a transport authority, it has recently announced the carrier for major urban transport in the coming years: the French company Transdev. Part of the contract, with a value of around 756 million euros, is a renewal of the bus fleet with, among other things, 160 electric buses that will run in the cities of Gothenburg, Mölndal and Partille. This year, thirty e-buses have already arrived which were ordered in 2018. This gives Västtrafik the largest e-bus fleet in Sweden. Due to the Paris Agreement of 2015, Västtrafik is committed to a CO2 reduction of eighty percent in 2020 compared to emissions in 2006 and ninety percent in 2030.
It is an objective that probably needs to be adjusted, because according to Hanna Björk from Västttrafik, Gothenburg, the largest city in the region, is growing faster than expected. Within Västtrafik Björk is responsible for strategic sustainable development and she is member of UITP's 'Sustainable Development Committee'. In order to achieve the objectives, Västtrafik focuses on renewable fuels and cleaner engines.
Every day, 1.7 million people travel via Västtrafik, which outsources transport, including train and ferry, to some eighty public transport companies. The revenues of Västttrafik are yearly 9.1 billion Swedish kroner, about 845 million euros. The trains and ferries are owned by Västtrafik.
In 2016, the share of diesel in the number of kilometres driven was more than eighty percent. Biogas accounted for just under 20 percent and there was no electric transport yet. In the meantime, the share of electricity has risen to around ten percent, biogas has remained the same and the share of diesel has fallen by around ten percent. At the same time, the number of kilometres off public bus transport is growing: 130 million kilometres by 2030, compared to 110 million kilometres in 2016. In 2030 the share of diesel, then only biodiesel, will have fallen to around 25 percent, the share of biogas must have risen to the same percentage and the share of electrical to fifty percent of those 130 million bus kilometres.
In 2030, Västtrafik only wants to use renewable energy: biodiesel, biogas and electricity. To achieve the CO2 reduction of ninety percent, electric transport is used for all traffic. By 2035, Västtrafik expects that from 'its' bus fleet of 2000 buses there will be around 750 electric.
Björk points out that the arrival of electric bus transport requires a different approach and cooperation from the municipality and province. This is mainly due to the energy issue. “For the time being, the decision has been made for depot charging in order to protect the city with regard to the new infrastructure required. For the 'heavy' lines, articulated buses will most likely be used, which can then be (re) charged via opportunity charging. In addition, Västtrafik will also receive its first hybrid-powered ferry later this year and a diesel ferry will be converted into an electric one suitable for fast charging. All in all an ambitious program with a mix of electric, biodiesel and biogas to meet the CO2 reduction requirements.